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Author Topic: Do digital photographers have a new artform?  (Read 33163 times)
Monochromophile
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« on: February 05, 2006, 04:17:50 PM »
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In Part 6 of his useful extended series of articles on digital black and white printing entitled “What to Call Them”  (http://www.cjcom.net/articles/digiprn6.htm ), Clayton Jones searches for an identity of prints employing carbon-based inks on 100% Rag paper.  After rejecting any names involving “Ink-Jet” or “Giclee” he  finally settles on the direct name “Carbon Ink Print”, a descriptive that we fully accept..  More important in this discussion, he emphasizes the point that since this medium consists of ink on paper, not a light-sensitive emulsion,  it is thus more closely related to Photogravure than to silver or platinum based photography.  What an appealing concept !! Photogravure has a history dating back to Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Sherrif Curtis and still enjoys the attention of  current artists like Sonny Lee of Santa Fe and of knowledgeable collectors.  Our very young media is therefore akin to being a “Digital Photogravure”.

Despite these concepts, many digital artists cling to the idea that a digital print should pass as a “real” photograph, just as early photographers before Ansel Adams and Alfred Steiglitz  felt that their work should resemble paintings to be accepted as legitimate art.  Clayton Jones states that  digital monochromes “…have a unique beauty and elegance all their own and can stand alone without being imitative of anything else……let’s stake out our own territory”.  We concur,  and in our attempt at  attaining this goal are in the habit of printing with Ultrachrome K3 inks on papers like Crane Museo II or Moab Entrada Natural as suggested in Clayton Jones’ article “The Great Paper Chase”, Part 5 of his series (http://www.cjcom.net/articles/digiprn5.htm).  This is as opposed to using glossy or luster media in an effort to look like a photograph.  What do others think of these ideas?.
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2006, 07:36:00 PM »
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Last year my wife & I attended a local art festival; one of the booths was occupied by a photographer selling average quality inkjet prints on canvas. We overheard her tell a potential customer "my art is 'zhee-clay'; it's a French process..." We fought to to suppress derisive laughter at such pretentious nonsense.  "Carbon ink print" is perilously close to the same weasel-wording.

I believe that modern inkjet prints need no apologies or evasions. Given the wide range of paper surfaces available and the beautiful results we can obtain, let's just call them what they are and move on. The prints can speak for themselves.

I too love the almost decadent lush appearance of a well crafted monochrome print on cotton rag paper. On the other hand, some black & white images need the deeper D-max provided by semigloss or luster paper to really sing. Digital printing provides a range of wonderful tools, but in the end the tools must serve the needs of the image

Just my 2 cents.
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collum
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2006, 04:09:55 PM »
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he emphasizes the point that since this medium consists of ink on paper, not a light-sensitive emulsion,  it is thus more closely related to Photogravure than to silver or platinum based photography.  [{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That would place Dye Transfer print as not being a photograph either, since you are soaking a matrix in a dye, and rolling it across a transfer surface.

I started as a photographer in the early 80's. I photographed and printed b/w film, color film, cibachrome, dye transfer, silver, platinum, 4 color carbon, digital negatives, quadtone digital, inkjet color. I've used 35mm and medium format cameras, 4x5, 8x10 view cameras, minox submin. cameras, an oatmeal  box with a pinhole at one end, digital capture with point-and-shoot, DSLR's, digital single capture and scanning backs, as well as a scanner with objects placed on top of it.

I started off as a photographer, and I still am. The print that i made/make is a photograph.

Jerry Uelsmann's work, and even more so his wife's Maggie Davis' , have never existed in reality.  They manipulate many different images, bringing them together, either by using multiple enlargers, or a computer. They consider themselves, and all of the major photographic galleries, consider them photographers, and their images photographs.

There is currently an exhibit at Center for Photographic Art in Carmel   ( [a href=\"http://www.photography.org/gallery/current/current.html]http://www.photography.org/gallery/current/current.html[/url]  ) , by Stephen Galloway . (spectacular images if you happen to be in the area)  They are large (4'x8') images done with a scanning back, and printed with an inkjet printer. They are labeled as Inkjet prints. If you go to Weston gallery down the street, you will also see Inkjet prints hanging on their wall (and labeled as such).  The art world considers them Inkjet prints, and they command prices equal to contemporary photographs printed on Cibachrome or silver.


         jim
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2006, 04:23:39 PM »
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The art world considers them Inkjet prints, and they command prices equal to contemporary photographs printed on Cibachrome or silver.
Jim: thanks muchly for pointing this out. If coastal California is ready to recognize the inkjet as an artistic tool the rest of the world will undoubtedly catch up in its own good time.

The interesting counterpoint here in backwater S. Ontario is that "giclee" repros of paintings command a higher price than litho repros on the basis of having been marketed as having greater longevity. I believe most people in the gallery scene now realize that giclee more or less equates with Epson pigment inkjet, so the transition to dropping the giclee and just going with inkjet should be relatively painless.
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Anon E. Mouse
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2006, 06:21:33 PM »
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If you think the "artform" is photography, then you don't have a new artform because you are using ink jet printers. If the "artform" is printing, then the artform is newer, but ink jet printers have been around for some time.

As far as names, an ink-jet print by any name would still look the same. The same can be said of roses. And that is simply marketing trying to sell by hiding the reality behind fancy words.

But it appears the essay is just trying to put some "mystique" into a process. I would rather see photographers more interested in the content of their work than the process used to make it. One of the reasons photography is not valued is the perception it is from a machine. If the machine is expensive, then the photo can be expensive. But what are you buying? Material or the skill and vision of the photographer.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2006, 07:37:52 PM »
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In looking at "traditional" photographs in galleries and museums, I find descriptive terms like "platinum print" or "silver gelatin print" informative and useful. For an exhibit I am preparing for right now, I have decided to describe my prints as "pigment inkjet prints". I find the term "inkjet" honest, and the additional word "pigment" should make it clear that I am not using dye-based inks. For those that know the difference, it is useful information. For those that don't, it makes no difference.

Just my 2 cents. I'm glad the Left Coast is acknowledging Inkjet Prints. And if anybody wants one of my prints in "jiggly", I'll just mount it on a spring.    

Eric
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2006, 08:08:21 PM »
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What Clayton Jones says about Epson Enhanced Matte paper turning yellow is not wholly consistent with Wilhelm's research results, and certainly not true for these prints placed in dark storage.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2006, 08:46:52 PM »
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I believe Brooks Jensen is calling them "pigment on paper."  I think this is fine.  I am planning on an experiment with inkjet descriptions with my customers.  I think it is an interesting study, but I certainly don't shy away from the word "inkjet."  Like others have written, it is an entrenched and maturing technology.  See the Clyde Butcher segment on the current video journal for a wonderful perspective on silver vs. inkjet.
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alan_biggs
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2006, 03:38:23 AM »
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I believe that modern inkjet prints need no apologies or evasions. Given the wide range of paper surfaces available and the beautiful results we can obtain, let's just call them what they are and move on. The prints can speak for themselves.

[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I completely agree with this. It's the same with traditional art or architecture. Don't try to dress something up as something else - let the materials speak for themselves. Digital prints are digital prints and let them be that.

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2006, 08:41:12 AM »
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Of course, with any medium alot about the results depends on the craftsmanship. There is the whole gamut of quality from each - be it yesteryears' darkrooms or todays' digital labs. As well, each image has its mood, which gets conveyed differently by each medium. That much said, whenever I visit a craft fair or art show where there are booths of photographers selling their wares, it has become almost instinctive that I can identify what is darkroom from what is inkjet, because the overall photographic image quality of the latter is generally superior. I know some people will strenuously object to this observation, but fine, that's just how my mind's eye sees things. This technology will still improve in terms of gamut, deep shade tonal separation etc., but it is already mature in its own right.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Monochromophile
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2006, 12:02:43 PM »
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In looking at "traditional" photographs in galleries and museums, I find descriptive terms like "platinum print" or "silver gelatin print" informative and useful. For an exhibit I am preparing for right now, I have decided to describe my prints as "pigment inkjet prints". I find the term "inkjet" honest, and the additional word "pigment" should make it clear that I am not using dye-based inks. For those that know the difference, it is useful information. For those that don't, it makes no difference.

Just my 2 cents. I'm glad the Left Coast is acknowledging Inkjet Prints. And if anybody wants one of my prints in "jiggly", I'll just mount it on a spring.   

Eric
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=60170\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree that "pigment inkjet prints" is an accurate descriptive.  Since I am printing in black and white, and the inks consist of carbon pigment, the name
"Carbon Inkjet Print" is also useful and not deceptive.  This is a compromise from the former "Carbon Ink Print", which however is also not deceptive.    
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2006, 12:49:46 PM »
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I agree that "pigment inkjet prints" is an accurate descriptive.  Since I am printing in black and white, and the inks consist of carbon pigment, the name
"Carbon Inkjet Print" is also useful and not deceptive.  This is a compromise from the former "Carbon Ink Print", which however is also not deceptive.   
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=69642\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
In fact, in an exhibit a couple of years ago I had B&W in both traditional darkroom prints as well as inkjet, plus color inkjet prints. The three designations I used were "Gelatin Silver", "Carbon Pigment Inkjet", and "Pigment Inkjet". I agree that adding "carbon" where appropriate gives information to those that understand it and shouldn't bother others (although many people at the opening reception asked me what it meant).    

Eric
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alainbriot
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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2006, 12:09:54 PM »
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I believe that modern inkjet prints need no apologies or evasions. Given the wide range of paper surfaces available and the beautiful results we can obtain, let's just call them what they are and move on. The prints can speak for themselves.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=60105\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Exactly.  Personally, when I mention how my prints are made, I simply detail the printer/paper/driver I use, for example "Prints made on an Epson 4800 on Crane Museo Silver Rag with ImagePrint."  That seems to answer most questions in a clear and direct manner while avoiding "obfuscating" terms.  If you have to give a fancy term to what you do to make it acceptable (i.e. Giclee, Digital Carbon Print, etc.) you are addressing the wrong audience!  There is no need to mention that I do digital photography since it has become the norm.  There is however a need to mention if one does chemical photography and Gelatin Silver Prints, since this has become the minority.  

As for Giclee, it is always fun to explain that in French it simply means "spray" or "squirt" and not necessarily in a glorifying manner as it is used in a variety of contexts... Personally I have not been able to use it (although I can pronounce it perfectly) because each time I do I can't help but think of some of these "contexts" and start to laugh.  I don't know who started using this term to describe inkjet prints, but if that person was French they should be stripped of their French citizenship or forced to drink bubly red wine for the rest of their days ;-)

Finally, if you read the posts through this forum or on this site, you will find that Giclee, or other obfuscating terms for inkjet prints are rarely if ever used.  However, when you go to art shows and galleries they are omnipresent.  I personally always use the same terms to describe my prints.  In my experience, this results in a higher level of sales.  I am quite puzzled about why my approach isn't widely used. Losing money while confusing your audience sounds quite self-defeatist...
« Last Edit: July 03, 2006, 12:37:56 PM by alainbriot » Logged

Alain Briot
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« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2006, 04:11:18 PM »
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Exactly.  Personally, when I mention how my prints are made, I simply detail the printer/paper/driver I use, for example "Prints made on an Epson 4800 on Crane Museo Silver Rag with ImagePrint."   
 
 [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=69689\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That would be like a painter saying his work is "Winsor-Newton oil paint on Blick canvas painted with a Badger bristle brush" when  "Oil on canvas" will suffice. Thus,  "carbon ink priint" is the analogous term for what I am doing.
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Pete Berry
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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2007, 06:20:13 PM »
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For a showing of my prints from images in India currently hanging at the Stowitts Museum in Pacific Grove, CA, the curator used the descriptive term "Archival Pigment Prints". These were printed with a Canon iPF5000 on Innova PSC paper.

This strikes me as an excellent choice to describe inkjet (or bubble jet) prints using archival pigment inks and papers - and a plain English replacement for the mysterious, overused, and somewhat presumptive"Giclee".

Pete Berry
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2007, 06:38:57 PM »
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Conggratulations on having your images exhibited. If you can post a link to a web-gallery of them it would be nice to see them.

There is nothing mysterious about the word *Giclee*. It is French for "spurt" and alludes to how ink is ejected from the printhead of an inkjet printer. Harald Johnson has an interesting account of the origin of the word for describing ink-jet printing in his book "Mastering Digital Printing - Second Edition, pages 32 and 33. A fun read.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Pete Berry
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2007, 08:17:40 PM »
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Conggratulations on having your images exhibited. If you can post a link to a web-gallery of them it would be nice to see them.

There is nothing mysterious about the word *Giclee*. It is French for "spurt" and alludes to how ink is ejected from the printhead of an inkjet printer. Harald Johnson has an interesting account of the origin of the word for describing ink-jet printing in his book "Mastering Digital Printing - Second Edition, pages 32 and 33. A fun read.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=115256\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Thanks, Mark. All is unfortunately in process now - should be on the Museum website, but aren't yet, and my aged brain rebels at the thought of having to learn yet another new skill after my taming of the iPF5000 beast! I hope to get a gallery going soon.

I meant "Giclee" is mysterious to the non-initiated in this cult, and presumptive in that it is not descriptive of anything except the "ejaculation" of the ink itself. It presumes that archival pigments and media have been used - at least this is my working concept of the word - that the archival nature of the print is a given.

Pete
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2007, 09:21:57 PM »
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believe that modern inkjet prints need no apologies or evasions. Given the wide range of paper surfaces available and the beautiful results we can obtain, let's just call them what they are and move on. The prints can speak for themselves.

However, "inkjet" is not "what they are", it is just the mechanism with which the ink was applied. We do not refer to silver or gelatin silver prints as "optically projected light sensitive silver halide coated print". The term Giclee has the same problem. No we refer, in capsule form to what is on the paper i.e. silver or silver gelatin or Carbon Ink Print.

I have been showing CIPs for almost 3 years now in museums and galleries and labeled them as such (though I started by calling them Archival Carbon Ink Prints, which was a bit too ponderous and apologetic). I have not encountered any antipathy. confusion or objection to that terminology.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2007, 09:31:10 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
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AndyF2
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2007, 10:59:09 PM »
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Kirk has raised the same point I was about to contribute; "inkjet" is the generic tool being used to place colour on the medium.  If inkjet is the correct term for the finished artwork, then watercolour, oil, and acrylic paintings should in fact be called brush paintings.  Not quite as interesting, nor as meaningful!  

The categorization watercolour, oil, and acrylic are more reflective of the colour space the painter wanted to work in, and the texture of the colour (brush strokes, thickness, and so on).  The tool itself is less relevant.

If we use the same approach for naming styles of inkjet (a trademarked term...) prints as is used for paintings, then dye print, pigment print, carbon print more accurately describe the type of image the photographer is making.

And, hundreds of years ago, there may have been the same distain amongs oil painters for those attempting to create worthy paintings in the less durable watercolours, as we have between pigment and dye today

Andy
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Ray
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« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2007, 11:19:30 PM »
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As far as I can see, there are only 3 major issues here.

(1) Is the print interesting, meaningful and desirable.

(2) How long will it last before fading?

(3) How many copies are available?
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